FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – New England Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore was selected as the 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY) by the Associated Press (AP). Gilmore becomes the first New England Patriot to win DPOY, an accolade that has been awarded at the end of every season since 1971.
Gilmore tied for the NFL lead with a career-high six interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns (Week 2 at Miami & Week 15 at Cincinnati) for a defense that finished No. 1 in the NFL in total defense (275.9 yards per game) and points allowed per game (14.1). He also tied for the NFL lead with 20 passes defensed, matching his single-season high from 2018. Gilmore joined Ty Law (27 in 1998 & 23 in 2003) as the only New England Patriots with multiple seasons of 20-plus passes defensed in franchise history. He also posted a career-high 53 tackles and recovered one fumble.
Gilmore adds the DPOY award to a list of 2019 accolades that includes his third career Pro Bowl selection (second with New England), a second consecutive selection to the AP All-Pro First Team and earned Pro Football Writer Association's All-NFL Team honors for the second straight season. Gilmore and New Orleans Saints WR Michael Thomas were the only AP All-Pro First Team selections. He was also named AFC Defensive Player of the Month for October after he had 11 tackles, seven passes defensed and two interceptions as part of a defense that held opponents to just three touchdowns for the entire month.
The Associated Press NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award is given to the most outstanding defensive player in the NFL at the end of each season. The winner is decided by votes from a panel of 50 AP sports writers who regularly cover the NFL. Along with becoming the first Patriot to with the award, Gilmore becomes the first defensive back to win the award since Troy Polamalu in 2010 and the sixth cornerback overall to earn accolade.